Delhi-based online speciality coffee retailer Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters has raised INR 17 Cr ($2.28 Mn) in a Pre-series B bridge round led by Anicut Angel Fund (equity arm of Anicut Capital) with participation from other new and existing investors.
The startup will use the funding to launch new products, execute farm-level interventions to improve quality, expand internationally and for marketing.
Founded in 2012 by Matt Chitharanjan, Namrata Asthana and Shivam Shahi, Blue Tokai sources single-estate Arabica coffee beans from premium Indian coffee estates, roasts them on order, and sells them online direct to consumers and offline to leading cafes, restaurants, and hotels across the country.
The company started selling its coffee online and through B2B partnerships and then sought to provide its coffee through its cafes across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad.
“We’ve been omnichannel since the very early stages of our business. Cafes were an important part of that mission, but like many brands, Covid-19 completely upended the economics of that business. We were fortunate to have a strong D2C presence already, and by refocusing our efforts on our online sales channels, we’ve been able to grow our revenue nearly 50% more than our pre-covid peak,” said Chitharanjan.
India’s coffee market is currently valued at $1.46 Bn and is expected to grow to $2.03 Bn by 2025, according to a Mordor Intelligence report.
The Indian coffee market is dominated by traditional players, like Nestlé, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Coffee and others.
But according to an Inc42 report, India’s online coffee market, which is set to grow to $203 Bn by 2025, is dominated by players like Blue Tokai, SLAY Coffee, Rage, and Sleepy Owl.
To stay ahead, apart from launching experimental lots of coffee, the company is developing ready-to-brew and ready-to-drink products for people to more easily experience the variety of flavours that speciality coffee offers.
In addition, the company is also executing several projects to enable more small scale growers to improve their quality and, in turn, reap the premium that speciality coffee sells for.